Alwaght- The presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey meet on Monday in the Turkish capital of Ankara to discuss a political resolution to Syria’s eight-year conflict.
The trilateral summit between Presidents Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, will focus on the issue of the northwestern province of Idlib, whose large parts in addition to parts of neighboring Hama constitute the last major militant stronghold in Syria.
The developments in Idlib, refugees and a political solution to the lingering conflict in Syria will be on the table at the fifth summit with the participation of Turkish, Russian and Iranian leaders in Astana format.
Speaking in an interview with Reuters, Erdogan said Monday’s summit would aim to stop the influx of refugees from Idlib and establish a ceasefire in the region.
"The expectation here is not a momentary ceasefire. First, it is to put a stop to the migration here,” he said, adding “Second, to ensure a ceasefire here. Third, to seriously get terrorist organizations under control".
The meeting will be held within the framework of the Astana Process, an initiative by Iran, Russia, and Turkey which mediate peace negotiations between representatives from the Damascus government and opposition groups in several rounds held in the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana) and other places since January 2017.
The talks, which are collectively referred to as the Astana peace process, have so far helped significantly reduce the violence by establishing four de-escalation zones in the counry. They have also paved the way for the formation of a "Constitutional Committee".
The parallel UN-backed peace process in Geneva, however, has failed to deliver much.
Rouhani, Erdogan and Putin are also expected to hold bilateral talks with each other on Monday before holding the trilateral meeting. They will then hold a joint press conference.
Iran and Russia have been supporting the Syrian government in its anti-terror operations at the request of the Damascus government, while Ankara backs the anti-Damascus militants.
The Syrian government troops, backed by Russian warplanes, have been regaining control of further areas once held by militants.
Thousands of Syrians returned to their villages and towns in the northern countryside of Hama province and the southern countryside of Idlib on Sunday as part of the government’s efforts to return the displaced to their hometowns over the past months.